30 JULY 2012
Having taken the weekend off (there’s been barely a tweet out of me since Friday) I’ve returned to the desk today to evaluate the results of the KDP Select Free Promo for Feria. You may remember that I’d expressed disappointment in the initial level of sales that had been achieved and I had decided to try and give things a boost. I have to tell you that despite all the effort, the situation hasn’t changed much and in the (literally) cold light of dawn on a Monday morning, I have to face the truth. I’m afraid to say it’s not been a success and it’s back to the drawing board for me.
That’s not to say I’ve haven’t gained from the experience – and I’m certainly not calling it a mistake. In fact, I don’t think I did much wrong. I researched thoroughly beforehand and read the blogs of those who’d already done it and had been successful and I did what I was told. I got my ten 5 star reviews, notified the free ad sites and tweeted my socks off (a little over-enthusiastically perhaps). And as a result things did follow the predicted pattern. Feria began Wednesday morning at #123722 in the rankings and there was a significant increase in downloads. I had been led to expect thousands but it turned out to be hundreds and there has been a slight uplift in post-campaign sales. The book now stands at #13131 and although that’s a huge improvement, it’s hardly become a best-seller. Pollsters have an expression for this. Apologies to the feline fraternity, but it’s known as ‘dead cat bounce’ and I don’t suppose I’m the only one to have experienced it. There are probably thousands of blogs out there reporting failure and it’s just that we choose not to read them - although at the moment I feel as though I prepared the food, got the drinks in and sent out the invitations but mine was the party where nobody turned up.
I’m ascribing this lack of success to two principal reasons. If there’s anyone out there with similar experiences and can add to the list, please let me know through the comment box at the bottom of the page and I’d be pleased to hear from you, but here are mine.
Firstly, I think I went too early. Like a swan attempting take-off, you need a minimum speed before you can fly and I don’t think I had gained enough momentum beforehand. I am naturally impatient and I like to ‘get on with things’ but in this instance I might have been better biding my time. The problem is easily rectifiable – I need to be seen in more places and establish more ‘presence’ on the web. Even this initial exercise will have helped but there’s a lot more to do.
Secondly, and much more difficult to solve, is the lack of any readily identifiable ‘genre’. The literary world loves to pigeon-hole authors and with the propensity of Amazon, Google and other web-engines for ‘searches’, if you’re not in a popular category (crime, romance, action-adventure etc.) you’re stuffed. Feria fits into none of these conventional boxes and neither will any of my other books. The broad mass of contemporary fiction is as close as I can get to describing them - and who searches for that? I once had an anthology of short stories turned down on the basis that I was ‘thematically incoherent’ (I’m still taking the tablets, by the way) and it seems that the problem persists. Any suggestions as to how I might overcome this will be gratefully received.
Meanwhile, I soldier on. I’m disappointed by the results, yes, but I’m not entirely discouraged. I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve broadened my readership by a few hundred more people. They’ve had my book for free and the best of luck to them. I wish them well and I hope they enjoy reading it. As for me, I’ve clearly got more work to do but to paraphrase General MacArthur, and more latterly, Arnold Schwarzenegger - ‘I’ll be back’.